I am the host and founder of Adelaide VR Meetup, have taught University lectures in User Experience in Interactive environments and specialise in VR production for psycholgical, educational and medical purposes.
Open to discuss speaking at your next event in the future of VR and its uses in society,
My name is Daish Malani. I have been dedicated and hopefully instrumental in the resurgence of virtual reality. This story will help you understand my journey.
|Of course I couldnt include everything here but have done my best to include the important steps.
In 201, After 7 years of living in Tokyo Japan, where I worked in various fields, including 3d visualisation of interior architecture, teaching junior high school and preschool and working on student curriculum. I picked up my life and moved to Vancouver for 18 months so I could be there when this wonderful medium finally had its chance to really explain to the world why it existed.
I interned at a local game studio and in my spare time tried to hunt down every virtual reality experience I could get my head into. I tried one of the first oculus devices, it was 3d printed and strike taped together mainly. I also got to try a near competitor at the the time which balanced on your head using some feat of physics and had large counter weights behind your head. It had amazing tracking using modified HTC vive “lighthouses” or tracking stations which eventually fed into the development of the Vive, arguably the most comprehensive VR solution to date.
Within the same month I saw a little plastic piece also taped to the front and allowed you to use your hand to pick up things which later on become known famously as the leap motion, I met a group of 3 guys doing hand tracking even more advanced called nimble which undoubtably is the technology driving the hand tracking of the oculus quest in 2020. I then started to formulate how this technology was going to be one of the most important technological evolutionary steps that would change humankind forever.
I dont say these things to impress, but to impress upon you my excitement and absolute dedication to this medium. I felt like a foot soldier for the psychological revolution hat such a device could bring. The 1960 delivered psychedelics, and a way to open parts of the mind previously only accessible by years of dedicated meditation and contemplative practice. We now had a tool that could open you mind in a similar way, but gave you a chance t escape just as quickly, leaving the psychological effects without introducing any negative physical components – well your cat may be annoyed with you when you temporarily ignore it but they seem oe quite resilient.
When I returned to Australia I felt compelled to share the knowledge I had discovered in Vancouver about the technology that was gong to save us years of therapy, rehabilitation, boost our education system and even out the socio economic gap by providing equivalent experiences for a fraction of the cost as it evolved. Ultimately I saw this as one of the greatest aspects . When you ar win e VR experience, its your mind that will decide how deep you go and how much you learn and that opportunity was available to everyone.
HTC were nice enough o give me a prototype of the HTC Vive they had set for release the next year. I went through two iterations of these. One fully 3d printed whose controllers had a battery life of about half an hour to an almost perfect replica of the commercially released Vive which I still use t this day.
My next projects were travelling to schools, and anywhere would let me show off the technology. I did workshops and was even part of the aboriginal STEM congress, which used traditional aboriginal techniques elevated to a social platform with future technology to create exciting fusions of culture and technology, and we used VR to show traditional dreamtime stories painted in situ by children brought all together for this occasion from all over South Australia.
I was given the role of “innovator in residence” at the Adelaide City Library where I met with the staff and public every week for 3 months, and decided what experience s they should see, and I had to draft the first WHS document for Virtual Reality in the City of Adelaide. In this document I studied how it might affect the wider public in physical, emotional and psychological ways.
I has also started the Adelaide Virtual Realty meetup group. A way of easily giving back to the community and a chance to really show the most left field experience s designed to truly test the user and sometimes turn their pre conceptions on their head and understand something for a completely different point of view.
Ultimately during all of this time I had been working on what I called the “brain injury trainer” which mimicked tradit9onal rehabilitation but allowed you to repeat this tasks in fun environments in virtual reality. To this day I continue to work on this project and have founded “Add-Life Technologies” alongside Tony, who had worked in commercialising medical devices. The story of Add-Life will become one of the legacies I hope to leave behind to make the world a brighter place with hope , joy , acceptance and ability as its goal.
In the past few years I have taught university lectures, made experiences to stimulate alpha waves in the brain fro learning and rehabilitation and even made an experience that teaches you to die gracefully when the big off switch finally comes.. these are but a few of the stories of my VR life and thee will be many more in the future,.